Dental Industry Evolution
Peter Li - Chief Evangelist
Evolution of the Dentist’s Office
The world of dentistry has made leaps and bounds since the profession was first recognized in the early 1700s. While Fauchard’s The Surgeon Dentist, A Treatise on Teeth may have provided a blueprint on oral care, those fledgling dentists could never have guessed the progress and advancements their practices would see.
Fast forward to today, dental offices are seeing a renaissance in the way they care for patients and run their business. If you haven’t yet taken the step to go fully digital, taking a moment to think about how far we’ve come will give you the chance to reconsider what technology can do for you and your employees.
It can be tough translating the cloud, platforms, and AI into your day-to-day business, but we’re here to explain how welcoming the latest technology is just as important as collecting your patient’s name and number.
Let’s take some time to examine three ways in which the business of dentistry has changed, and appreciate how far we’ve come.
Dentistry has spent decades sending assistants and receptionists to the rolodex so they can spend the afternoon on the phone, drumming up business. This expensive, weekly-if-not-daily, routine relied on costly human capital neglecting other duties for the sake of filling a schedule.
Thankfully, technology has removed spending all Tuesday morning filling your Thursday afternoon. With an integrated solution, reaching out to patients is now a simple SMS, sent on command. More and more people prefer texting over taking calls, so a casual reminder with the option to schedule an appointment is instantaneous, and it frees your people to focus on the office around them, and the patients in front of them.
For bonus points, an all-in-one solution will be able to automatically email or text a simple thank you following an appointment, and it’ll be appreciated.
A FLEXIBLE CONNECTION
When dentists ventured into multiple locations to expand, there weren’t enough hours in the day to catch up. Whether you were driving across town for charts or dialling up every few minutes until you skipped the busy signal, it was exhausting – if not impossible – to stay on top of things.
Practices are very busy places and are forecasted to grow up to 19% by 2026. With the advent of the cloud, staying on top of multiple offices is now effortless, as opposed to impossible. Charts and treatment plans are available on your phone or tablet. Stay on top of your practices while on the train in the morning or from the comfort of home at night, with total security. Using a mobile-friendly app, you’ll even have time to check in with other offices while waiting for a curing light to beep.
DELIVER IN, DIGITIZE OUT
There was once a time-honoured tradition of writing up inventory sheets while waiting patiently for deliveries that showed up when they showed up. Tracking shelf-life, quantities, and replacements were a daily and weekly sit-down that needed double and triple checking before you could call up your provider.
It may not be the biggest bill, but your inventory takes up a lot of space and time. If your drug doses, disposable tools, even toys of tots run dry, you run the risk of downstream expenses for your practice. Rather than having someone count latex gloves and suction attachments, immediately enter invoices into a digital inventory. When you take an item out, use a simple barcode scanner to track stock.
After your inventory runs low, you can be instantly notified of an item that needs reordering, or with an integrated all-in-one, your system can send out an order on your behalf. Don’t forget to enjoy all the hours each week you’ll suddenly find free.
THE FUTURE, AND BEYOND
AI gets tossed around as potentially solving our future problems, but it offers a promise for positive change in our lives beyond how we get around. Looking into the future of dentistry, AI won’t mean that a robot will be responsible for bonding and extracting, but more of an assistant in a busy practice.
Imagine a future where recording an irregularity creates an instant notification from software that knows exactly how likely a diagnosis is. Immediately, you are aware of a trend over your patient’s past few visits, and you’ll screen them for disease before they leave the chair. This process won’t be days or weeks after the fact once you’ve scheduled a time to return.
Alternatively, think of AI integrated with your schedule. A last-minute cancellation for a longer-than-usual appointment might leave you with a two-hour gap, except that your system has automatically messaged the three patients that previously inquired about that same time. Now you’re back to a full schedule without lifting a finger.
If you’re interested in using software to streamline your office, learn how Cleardent solutions can help grow your practice.